The 2020 election season has been fascinating to behold. Two billionaires, Michael Bloomberg and Tom Steyer, attempted to purchase themselves the Democratic Party presidential nomination through massive advertising buys. Bloomberg supplemented his television and online ad buys by hiring every party operative in sight and setting up campaign offices everywhere.
“It is an open question whether Bloomberg’s investment in Virginia — unparalleled among his Democratic opponents — will translate into votes,” wrote the Washington Post last week. It’s an open question no longer. All that money bought him 127,000 votes, or about 9.7% of the total.
According to Business Insider, Bloomberg dropped $18 million on television and radio ads in Virginia, about 50 times what Biden spent — “and got demolished.”
Steyer has spent loads of money on cable TV ads in Virginia (I can’t find a specific number, but I’ve seen plenty of the ads) but snagged 1,586 votes in Virginia, or about 0.1% of the total.
Clearly, money helps win elections. Without spending millions of dollars, Bloomberg could not have come out of nowhere to capture nearly 10% of the Virginia primary vote. But it turns out that other things matter much more — like media coverage, campaign strategy, the support of the party apparatus, and candidate attributes such as message and charisma.
So, next time someone tells you we’ve got to limit campaign contributions to save democracy here in Virginia, just remember Michael Bloomberg and Tom Steyer. Money can’t buy you love.
— JABThere are currently no comments highlighted.